Eating healthy is an important part of being healthy. And while dieting and watching what you eat throughout the day is important, what you eat before and after workouts can be even more important. Different foods can give you different benefits when a workout is thrown into the mix. With the perfect balance of protein, fats, and carbohydrates you can fuel your workout, help your muscles recover, and satisfy your hunger.
If you are looking for the best way to get in shape and help your body absorb the workout in the best way possible, adding these pre- and post-workout snacks can help.
Dieting alone will not help you reach your fitness goals, you must also hit the gym often and get your heart pumping. Find the perfect workouts for you at BodyPlex Fitness. Our 24/7 gym offers a ton of different workout options, from famous group classes to a gym full of your favorite workout equipment and machines. Our team is dedicated and knowledgeable, able to help you reach your goals and give you advice.
Before heading to one of our BODYCOMBAT™ or BODYFLOW™ classes, be sure to prepare with snacks that will benefit you throughout your tough workout. While eating and not eating before a workout may burn the same amount of fat, the muscle is what you need to worry about. Working out on an empty stomach can actually cause muscle loss. When you are hungry, your body draws protein from your muscles rather than your liver or kidney, where protein is usually drawn from. This process of loss in muscle mass can cause your metabolism to slow, making it more difficult to lose weight.
Working out on an empty stomach can also make it difficult for you to push yourself as hard as usual, causing your workout to be less intense and your energy levels low. Not only will eating a nutritious snack help you have the energy to power through your workout, but it will also help you burn fat and build muscle!
Your muscles use glucose from carbs for fuel, keeping your energized throughout your workout. Proteins can help with muscle growth and performance, improve strength, and can improve muscle recovery. While fat is more beneficial when it is constantly in the diet, it can help with athletic performance. According to Authority Nutrition, studies have shown that a diet consisting of 40% fat helps to increase endurance in running times in trained runners.
There are many different meals and snacks you can eat before your workout that can be beneficial. Some of these options include:
- Greek yogurt and trail mix
- Whole wheat toast with banana and cinnamon
- Fruit smoothie with greek yogurt
- Oatmeal and fruit
- Rice cakes with almond butter
These are only a few of the many options for the perfect pre-workout food. With these examples, finding the perfect snack can be easier for you! These examples are perfect for a quick snack before heading to the gym, but you can find meals that you can eat two hours before that will help you throughout your workout but may take longer to prepare.
Once you have finished one of your workouts, perhaps our BODYPUMP™ class, your muscles will need some serious recovery. When you workout, your body uses the fuel stored in your muscles for energy, breaking down your muscles glycogen stores. Eating within half an hour to an hour can help refill energy stores, repairs and builds muscles that were broken down in the process, and can keep your metabolism burning.
Carbs and protein are the important nutrients to focus on after a workout, whether you are eating a snack on your way or drinking a protein shake. The sooner the better—waiting two hours to eat after a workout can reduce your body’s ability to refill muscle stores by 50 percent. Eating as soon as possible after a workout is the best choice.
If you want to get the most out of your workout and help your body recover as much as possible, you need to plan ahead and prepare a post-workout snack to munch on during the drive home. Pack a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, bring a small baggie of trail mix, or bring your protein powder and fill it up as you leave the gym. This simple snack task will help your body get the best recovery.
Plan on eating enough carbs and protein after your workout to get the best results and feel better. Some good examples of snacks and meals that are perfect for post-workouts include:
- Trail mix
- Greek yogurt with fruit
- Chocolate milk
- Grilled chicken and mixed veggies
- Veggie omelet and avocado
- Sweet potatoes
If you work out at home, live close to the gym, or plan on making dinner right away, ditch the snack and go straight for a protein packed dinner. These snacks and meals will help your body restore energy, build muscles, and improve your workout results.
Pre- and post-workout foods are very similar, because with both you need a lot of protein and carbohydrates. There is an ideal amount of time to consumes these foods before and after your workout that will be most beneficial to your workout. For your pre-workout snack, you will want to get the protein and carbs in your body one to three hours before hitting the gym. And as stated before, the sooner the better for post-workout snacks. Eating within twenty minutes after your workout will be the most beneficial. But ensuring that you get your protein and carb intake before two hours have passed is the most important thing to be aware of.
When you aren’t preparing to workout or recovering from one, there are foods you can eat that can help you maintain your fitness goals. There are many different foods that can help boost your metabolism, naturally. Some of these metabolism-enhancing foods (and drinks) include:
- Lean meat
- Egg whites
- Green tea
- While grains
- Tree nuts
These are only a few of the foods that can help increase your metabolism!
Working these metabolism boosting foods into your regular diet and focusing on your pre- and post-workout snacks and meals can really help you with your fitness goals. These foods are protein-packed and can help your body get the most out of your workouts, allowing you to reach your goals and keep pushing through!
Having enough energy while working out will help you get a better workout overall, which is why your pre-workout food choice matters. Post-workout food choices can help you refill your energy stores and build your muscles, making your workout worth it. Dieting is not enough to reach your fitness goals, but with the right food and the best workouts, you can get there in no time!
The next time your workout, try following these food tips and see how you feel during and after your workout! You may be amazed at the difference your food choice can make! Be sure to sign up for a membership with BodyPlex to have access to the best group fitness classes and a knowledgeable team. Start working toward your fitness goals today, we can help you get there. Start a free trial today or contact us with any questions!